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Stephen Hawking

Nurture Curiosity

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died today. Acknowledged as one of humanity’s greatest minds, he gained international fame for his work on black holes and his continued commitment towards asking the “big questions” of the universe. He has certainly been an inspiration to Sustainably Motivated, and his insights remain timely and relevant. With so much misinformation being disseminated, he reminds us that, “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” We must therefore stay humble, stay hungry (for knowledge), and stay dedicated to the pursuit of answers. Curiosity and critical thinking are powerful assets, yet they require support and engagement. Thank you for showing us the way Professor Hawking.


Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

Film Recommendation

Tomorrow (2015)

Hope for the Future

I highly recommend this sweet doc that offers viewers both information and inspiration in the struggle to combat climate change and discover better practices and alternatives in our strive for sustainability. It kicks off with the brutal reminder that the planet is currently undergoing its 6th great extinction as a result of destructive industrial practices and human-perpetuated climate change. This planetary pressure is very real, very scary, and has tremendously devastating potential. As parents themselves, the filmmakers (you might recognize Melanie Laurent, a celebrated French actress who also starred in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds), go looking for hope for the future and share with the audience the various solutions that are currently underway.

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Why Biomimicry is so Cool!


Adopting Nature’s R&D

Nature has had millions of years to work on its designs and efficiencies, and it’s no wonder that humans have sought to adopt and mimic these traits for our own uses. This practice of transferring over elements or techniques from the natural world is called biomimicry, and it represents a cutting edge approach towards developing sustainable solutions to the many problems we face.

The more we observe nature, or learn about it from brilliant documentaries, the more amazed and inspired we find ourselves. It truly is awesome! So how do we get some more of this awesomeness to rub off onto us and our daily practices? Well some sharp engineers have already gotten the ball rolling, and I will share a few examples below. It’s worth remembering though, that you don’t necessarily have to be an engineer to leverage your observations of the natural world. Nature has already provided the engineering in many cases. Rather, the genius lies in being able to connect it to your very own applications. Read on and soak up the inspiration.

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A Call to Action

Take Sides

Taking a Stand

There is always an opportunity to do better, to be better. One place to start is where we see something blatantly wrong and unjust. By its very nature the status quo is strongly rooted, but it can be changed! I hope that you too will find strength from Elie Wiesel’s words. His suffering, as well as that of countless others, should be a reminder to us all that, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Whether helping others in your community, or at work. Standing up for and with the socially oppressed, or helping protect the rest of the natural world that does not have a say in its exploitation and destruction. Let your own voice be heard.

Are Divestments Working?

Old Pump

What We’re Dealing With

Divestment is “the act of selling off a business/es, or of no longer investing money in something,” (Cambridge Dictionary). Basically pulling your money from organizations that you no longer believe to be of sound investment, or that you have come to disagree with as a result of their corporate actions and operations. In the context of climate change, the movement to divest represents the growing trend to withdraw investments from companies that deal in fossil fuels (such as coal & petroleum), and consequently endanger our future and that of the planet.

Oil companies make up some of the largest corporations on the planet, and it takes an astounding amount of money to maintain and grow their operations. Not only do many of these companies receive considerable tax breaks and subsidies (as well as externalize the environmental costs), they also collect huge cash injections from private investors. These investors may be individuals, but often times they are management funds, or collective investments, from a large number of people who may not be fully aware of where exactly their money is ending up.

For many, this type of investment may come in the form of pensions savings, where the initial priority is often the financial return, rather than what organizations the funds are supporting. This pattern of passive investment on behalf of citizens is what social and environmental activists are drawing attention to with their call to “go fossil free.”

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A Sustainable Source of Quality Jobs

Book Recommendation

The Green Collar Economy

by Van Jones (2008)

Green Collar

Van Jones makes the case for the renewable energy sector as a force for environmental and economic good. Climate change is indeed a terrible man-made crisis, but it also presents an opportunity for societies to shed their fossil fuel dependency and offer leadership through alternatives and innovation. Globalization has transferred millions of manufacturing jobs away from developed nations towards the developing world. This need not be viewed as a bad thing for the developed states (although labour conditions in the developing world are still in need of dramatic improvement). Rather, it provides the chance for the US, and other prosperous countries, to invest in the future and expand the skills of their citizens.

Jobs in the renewable energy sector, and the “Green” industry at large, represent the new model for blue collar jobs which, by their nature, are both local and better paying. As he explains, The Green Collar Economy can therefore work towards resolving climate change, as well as being a source of meaningful, well-paying jobs that will thereby benefit the economy.  Throughout the book, Jones goes on to back up his vision with impressive facts, as well as powerful community success stories. He is also personally involved in a number of initiatives, as well as being the President & Founder of Green for All, an organization that supports the green economy and seeks to help minorities and poor communities.

We encourage our readers to borrow books when they can, but if you choose to purchase a copy click HERE to order via Amazon, and support this blog in the process. 

The Bag of the Future


The New Temp Bag

From Bali, Indonesia comes this awesome new bag that is ready to replace the excessive and antiquated plastic version currently dominating the planet. Although other plastic bag alternates have made the claim to be biodegradable, this one is totally compostable, and can even be eaten safely by wildlife (apparently they dig it)! It’s made from Cassava root (see below), an indigenous plant that’s safely consumed by humans and animals alike, and was engineered to degrade in nature within 3 to 6 months.

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We Shall Overcome


We Must Continue Working for the Future We Envision

As we advance our vision of a more just and sustainable world, we doubtlessly encounter countless obstructions, pain, frustration, and perhaps even despair. On those occasions Sustainably Motivated turns to Martin Luther King Jr. and takes solace in his reminder that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

5 Ways to Become Sustainably Motivated 

Will Ferrel in awe

-Updated Jan 2018-

Find Your Inspiration

If you’re looking for how you can adopt the sustainability mindset, look to what inspires you. Get exploring, and discover (if you haven’t already) what you love most about the world! Is it the oceans and beaches, mountains and forests, or perhaps the incredible animals that inhabit the planet with us? It might even be the people! Yes, other amazing, wonderful and frustrating, heart-breaking, ridiculous, and inspiring human beings. Life, and the vastly complex systems that make it all possible, really is miraculous, and the more you learn, the greater appreciation you get for how amazing it truly is! Use this revelation to motivate you to do good in this world, and help maintain the natural balance for yourself, and our future generations.

It’s terribly important that we regain our awareness of the environment, and curb our abuse and overconsumption of nature’s resources. We need to revaluate what we’re doing. This doesn’t just mean a forced reduction on everything (although there is certainly an excess), but it should certainly incentivize us to find alternative means for satisfying our needs. I strongly encourage sustainability as a mentality with which to view our world, and acknowledge our place in it. Below, I’ve share some practical applications and guidance on how to get onto the sustainability path and adopt for yourself a greener, healthier, and (hopefully) more satisfactory lifestyle.

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The Importance of Knowing Where to Start

Book Recommendation

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek (2011)

swwAn astute and inspiring book that lays it all out for you in terms of identifying the purpose of your enterprise. Sinek, a gifted communicator, examines the importance of understanding “the why” behind successful individuals and organizations, and the dangers that befall those who don’t. For those that seek to attain leadership, or simply understand it better, this is a great user-friendly read filled with examples and applications.

The author’s case is clearly made, well supported, and connects with the reader at a very primal level. If you happen to have seen him speak (he has a great TED Talk, and an even better 99U Talk – although this one is significantly longer, it’s totally worth it), this book serves to explore in greater detail his investigation of the impetus that can keep you and your organization sustainably motivated.

We encourage our readers to borrow books when they can, but if you choose to purchase a copy click HERE to order via Amazon, and support this blog in the process.